Former athlete Henry Rebello, who had represented India in the 1948 Olympic Games in London, died in Gurgaon on Tuesday morning after a long illness.
He was 84, and is survived by a daughter and two sons.
An avid sports lover till the very end, Rebello was a triple jumper of the highest quality. He took the top spot in a pre-Olympic event for foreign athletes in London, and led the field in the preliminary rounds of the main event.
Noted commentator Harold Abraham tipped him for the gold medal. That was not to be: he pulled a muscle in his first jump in the finals, and had to withdraw. Fate had been cruel, he was about to take his jump, but told to wait since a medal presentation was on.
He had cooled-off when given the green signal, and injured himself in the effort. His first essay was an impressive one.
The Bangalore-born Rebello was a self-made athlete, who devised his own training systems such as running up and down staircases, racing against cars.
Soon after the London Olympics he was commissioned into the Indian Air Force, and retired as a Group Captain. He was actively involved in the running of the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, and then served as a director in the Sports Authority of India.